Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Union City, NJ

  • Published 2023/01/12

The charming Union City is located in Hudson County, New Jersey, bordered by North Bergen to the North and West, Jersey City to the south, and Weehawken to the east.

It’s also known as the “Havana on the Hudson” and the Embroidery Capital of the United States since it manufactures textiles, paper products, toilet preparations, lamps, and clothing.

Thousands of people visit the city to see the passion play, the annual Cuban Day Parade, and to experience the unique and diverse culture of the city.

You can experience more of Union City by visiting its many restaurants and stores, mostly locally owned and operated.

Here are the best things to do in Union City, New Jersey.

Spend a Day at the William v. Musto Cultural Center

Exterior view of William v. Musto Cultural Center

Luigi Novi, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To start your visit to Union City, a great place to stop by first is the William V. Musto Cultural Center.

This cultural center is the best place to learn more about the city.

There is so much to do here as the cultural center is home to the museum of art, history, the concert hall, and the art gallery.

Visit the museum of art to see the wonderful collection of local artists’ works and renowned artist Enid Bell’s masterpieces.

An artist posing infront of a portrait at William v. Musto Cultural Center

Luigi Novi, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn more about the history of Union City in the museum of history, which contains a collection of objects, photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia that tells the city’s story from its early years until its growth in 1925.

You can also visit the concert hall and art gallery to watch and see exciting and fun concerts and performances and beautiful art exhibits.

William V. Musto Cultural Center is located on 15th Street.

Panel discussion at William v. Musto Cultural Center

Edwin Trinidad, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Score a Strike at the Bowl-Rite Lanes

Bowl-Rite Lanes is one of the most popular places to hang out with friends and family in Union City.

This bowling alley is a 32-lane multi-level facility, meaning that there is an upper level and a lower level, with about 16 lanes on each level.

You can bowl with friends and order delicious snacks such as fries, mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, and more.

There are also ping pong and pool tables you can rent and arcade games.

Bowl-Rite Lanes is on Summit Avenue Entrance on 8th Street.

Take a Stroll at the Washington Park

Entrance to Washington Park

Acebarry, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Washington Park is a nice historic park to visit in Union City.

The area was originally a fairground that was frequented by carnivals and circuses; nowadays, it is home to various facilities for outdoor activities and relaxation.

There are four baseball diamonds, two of which have synthetic turf and are equipped with lights for night games, as well as a batting cage.

There are also 10 tennis courts, a volleyball court, and one whole and three half-basketball courts.

Plaque at Washington Park

Acebarry, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also enjoy jogging, walking, or biking along the 3.8 miles of trails.

On a hot and sunny day, you can take the kids to the spray pool for a cool time.

The park is located in the area between Union City and Jersey City, accessible by following Palisade Avenue in Union City, making it a nice place to visit to experience both cities at the same time.

See Breathtaking Views at the Weehawken & Union City Reservoir Park

The Weehawken & Union City Reservoir Park is a quiet and beautiful space shared by the cities of Weehawken and Union City.

This 14-acre park and reservoir sits at 2100-2198 Palisade Avenue and offers relaxing paths and benches with a serene view.

A ¾ mile of gravel paths and trails around the reservoir provides a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline.

The reservoir is also home to wildlife such as ducks, seagulls, turtles, and more.

Currently, though, the trails are only one-way, and you can only walk as jogging isn’t allowed.

If you want a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life, visit the Weehawken & Union City Reservoir Park.

Swim at the Firefighter’s Memorial Park

Visitors swimming at Firefighter’s Memorial Park

Nightscream, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Firefighter’s Memorial Park is a good spot to enjoy the 9/11 Manhattan skyline in Union City.

The park is dedicated to the heroic North Hudson Fire and Rescue firefighters who fell under the line of duty; the park has appropriately done so by focusing on water.

There is an Olympic-size swimming pool that has lots of varying depths, encompassed by seats, as well as a small wading pool and a firefighter-themed spray park for the children to enjoy.

Constructed in a previously old Masonic Temple atop a cliff spanning 100 feet, the park doesn’t have much space but the space there is used thoughtfully.

Enter through the gates to see a beautiful garden and the large granite monument dedicated to the fallen firefighters.

The Firefighter’s Memorial Park is located at Palisade Avenue.

Practice Your Batting Skills at the Hudson Baseball Center

If you want to experience one of the best baseball and softball facilities, the Hudson Baseball Center is the place to be.

It is a batting cage center and the one and only indoor facility open all year round for baseball and softball in Hudson County.

This 6000-square-foot facility has five batting lanes, a playing field, and lanes with or without machines; only a maximum of five players can play at each lane.

It also offers professional coaching services for private individuals and groups for both baseball and softball.

If you want to visit the Hudson Baseball Center, you can book a reservation on their website and head to 2300 Summit Avenue.

Visit the Gallery at the Park Performance Arts Theatre

Outside view of Park Performance Arts Theatre

Luigi Novi, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Park Performance Arts Theatre is a humble cultural center in Union City.

This historic center has featured talented individuals in Hudson County and emerging talents and established performers since 1931.

It has also opened an art gallery named “Gallery at the Park.”

This art gallery showcases Cara London’s exhibitions and paintings and is currently looking to include local artists’ pieces as well.

Park Performance Arts Theatre is located at 560 23rd Street.

Go Skating at the Union City Skate Park

The Union City Skate Park is the city’s cool little skate park.

This tiny skate park is a nice hangout spot and the perfect place to practice skating with a spectacular view.

The park features a six-foot ramp with plenty of space, smooth pavements, and ground that seamlessly transitions to the ramps, mellow hips, flat-top pyramids, stairs, benches, and bars.

For a fun day of skating, stop by the Union City Skate Park, located at 38th Street.

Take the Kids to the Michael Leggiero Music Park

Musical instrument shaped water games at Michael Leggiero Music Park

Luigi Novi, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Michael Leggiero Music Park was named in honor of the previous city commissioner, former president, and CEO of the North Hudson Community Action Corporation.

The park features a large arch and a high-resolution movie screen that plays educational programs, cartoons, and other videos for children to enjoy.

Crowd at Michael Leggiero Music Park

Luigi Novi, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also find a little water park with various instrument-themed water spouts and sprays here, perfect for a warm sunny day.

The park was originally planned to have a grand amphitheater, but due to the lack of budget, the plan was later revised into the aquatic attractions the park has today.

Stop by with your kids at the Michael Leggiero Music Park on Park Avenue.

Have a Fantastic Italian Meal at Casa De Napoli

If you’re looking for an excellent Italian restaurant in Hudson County, Casa De Napoli is the place to go.

It’s an independently owned and operated restaurant founded in 1981, serving authentic, homemade Italian cuisine.

Lots of locals in Union City frequent this restaurant for its delicious food and homey, comfortable atmosphere.

They have most of what you’d expect in an Italian restaurant, and they do it deliciously; you won’t go wrong with eggplant parm, lasagna, and cannoli, which they fill after you order them.

If you want a taste of Italy in Union City, stop by Casa De Napoli on 32nd Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Beach at the Maxwell Place Park

People relaxing at Maxwell Place Park

quiggyt4 /

Maxwell Place Park is an amazing beach park in Hoboken.

With just an 11-minute drive from Union City to 11th Sinatra Drive North, you can find the one and only natural sand bridge on the southern parts of the George Washington Bridge.

This beach has many green spaces perfect for recreational activities and an ideal place for water activities, especially if you want to access the river by kayak or paddleboard.

View from Maxwell Place Park

quiggyt4 /

It also has a beautiful playground right at the waterfront where children can have a fun time at the play structures.

Meanwhile, parents and grownups can take in the beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline across the Hudson River.

You can also walk in the beautiful waterfront area and bask in the spectacular views.

Walk around Times Square in New York

People swarming around the Times Square in New York /

Times Square is one of the most iconic places in New York.

With just a 13-minute drive from Union City, you can head to Midtown Manhattan to see it.

The place was formerly called Longacre Square but was later renamed in 1904, as “The New York Times” moved into the newly made Times Building.

Bright banners at Times Square in New York

Luciano Mortula – LGM /

The streets here are brightly lit and bustling with life as countless small and large flashing digital billboards and advertisements are up non-stop.

It’s also the site of New York’s annual New Year’s Eve ball drop, an old tradition that attracts millions of visitors from around the world.

Time’s Square is also home to the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s popular entertainment venues.

View of Times Square in New York

Luciano Mortula – LGM /

Travel Back in Time at the Hoboken Historical Museum

The Hoboken Historical Museum is the best place to learn about Hoboken.

You can visit the Hoboken Historical Museum via a nine-minute drive from Union City.

This museum was originally founded in 1986 but was later moved to its current address in 2001 into the historic former Bethlehem Steel Hoboken Steelyard.

Street view of Hoboken Historical Museum

Jim.henderson, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

This 2,000-square-foot museum contains rotating exhibits that showcase Hoboken’s culture, history, and architectural landmarks.

There’s also an art gallery on the upper floors that showcase six local artists’ creations each year.

Enjoy City Views from atop the Empire State Building

Exterior view of Empire State Building

ruigsantos /

When you’re in New York, visit one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Empire State Building.

The Empire State Building is an architectural marvel—a 102-story skyscraper built from 1930 to 1931 and is one of the world’s tallest buildings until the 1970s and New York’s tallest buildings until 2012.

People enjoying the view from Empire State Building

emin kuliyev /

This is one of the most popular attractions in the city because of the building’s height and observation decks on specific floors (the 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors) where you can enjoy panoramic views of New York.

Entrance lobby at Empire State Building

Vacclav /

With just a 13-minute drive from Union City, you can find the historic Empire State Building at West 34th Street.

Be sure to reserve tickets, as the tours are via reservation only.

Observatory point at Empire State Building

Vitezslav Valka /

See Fabulous Animals at the Central Park Zoo

Entrance to Central Park Zoo

EQRoy /

Central Park Zoo is a popular zoo and tourist attraction in New York, one of the most visited places in Central Park.

You can reach it via an 18-minute drive from Union City to 64th Street.

Sea Lions at Central Park Zoo

dmitro2009 /

This seven-acre zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country, established in 1861.

It was masterfully redeveloped in the 1980s and reopened in 1988.

The zoo is open annually and showcases three major biomes and habitats—the hot Tropic Zone, the warm Temperate Territory, and the cold Polar Circle.

Snow leopard at Central Park Zoo

Luise Schulz /

Here you’ll find a large variety of animals of every season—from penguins to giraffes, lions, and tropical birds.

The little ones will enjoy the Tisch Children’s Zoo, which features harmless and adorable barn animals.

Monkey at Central Park Zoo

Carrie McKenna /

Final Thoughts

At a glance, Union City seems just another industrial-turned-residential area, but it actually offers various attractions, from historic sites to spectacular river views.

There are plenty of unique parks that the children will enjoy and cultural places to explore in Union City.

Bookmark these best things to do in Union City, New Jersey, to help you plan your itinerary!

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